From Elisha: Anyone have any ideas on how to tell those Fundies know that they're taking things out of context and misinterpreting them? That seems to be one of the biggest barriers. They seem to have no clue what taking something 'out-of-context' really means and that there are different ways (all wrong of course) of doing it.
You have certainly hit the nail on the head with that question. That is THE issue when arguing Bible with the Fundies.
Personally, I think there is no comprehensive solution. If there was, Protestantism itself would have hit on it long ago and would not be divided into a multitude of warring sects.
It seems to me one must proceed on a case-by-case basis. Even then, more than likely your Fundie opponent will refuse to see what it is you're driving at.
Take one of their favorite "prooftexts," 1 Cor. 4:6, for example:
"Now these things, brethren, I have figuratively transferred to myself and Apollos for your sakes, that you may learn in us not to think beyond what is written, that none of you may be puffed up on behalf of one against the other."
The admonition "not to think beyond what is written" is what they like because they think it supports Sola Scriptura
It is necessary to explain to them the larger context of 1 Corinthians in order for them to abandon that idea, and, of course, most of them refuse to abandon it or that prooftext.
The Orthodox argument usually looks something like this:Paul was obviously speaking of divisiveness and factions among the Corinthians and was telling them not to go beyond what he was writing them in the present letter (1 Corinthians) in that regard.
Obviously he was not giving them an absolute, unchangeable rule of authority by telling them "not to think beyond what is written." If he was, then we would not have a New Testament, since "what is written" when Paul was writing 1 Corinthians was the Old Testament! The New Testament was as yet incomplete and lacking a universally-recognized canon.
If Paul was establishing the doctrine of Sola Scriptura, then why, later in the very same letter, did he commend the Corinthians for keeping Christian oral tradition (1 Cor. 11:2)?
Unfortunately, each argument with the Fundies must be approached in this case-specific way.
After awhile, however, one begins to see that their stock of prooftexts is limited. Thus one need only memorize a few standard replies and regurgitate them over and over and over and over . . .
That doesn't sound very noble or glamorous, but it is an accurate description of slogging it out with the Fundamentalists.
They don't usually come up with anything that has not been said umpteen million times before in various ways.
The secret is not in knowing the answers. It is in resisting the temptation to respond with mockery, sarcasm, and name-calling. In other words, we must argue like Christians while our opponents fight like the devil.
That is the difficult part, I think; but it is the part in which we far outstrip our opponents and shine the light of Christ for all to see.